1218 Wharf St,
Phone: (250) 590-7370
When the waitresses at Shima admit Victoria, BC has way too many Japanese restaurants, I have to wonder when some will close up shop out of frustration to get a regular clientele or which operation stands out as the best? I’m sure there’s a list out there which locals has voted on as the best. I can’t say I completely agree either.
This operation has been around since 2010. While I have walked by on many an occasion, the desire to try this place out was limited. The menus on display showed prices were above average and they did not offer anything unique when compared to other operations.
For some reason, James Shaw tagged along. I did not invite him to join me and despite him saying he’s quitting the foodie’s life, he still follows me to places I intend on reviewing. Either he does not know what he wants to do with his life or he trying say (by being present) he wants to return. Despite trying to shake him off, he wanted to see where I was going. As we both settled in a cozy corner, we both eyed the same item on the menu: a clam miso soup. I had to go for my traditional staples, a sunomono salad (perhaps one of the best I’ve had since the chef did not skimp on the octopus) and a deluxe platter of nigiri. To sum up my buddy’s thoughts on the said soup: you get your money’s worth ($6). Not only are the servers very generous in the serving of this mollusk, but also the aroma had feeling I ordered the wrong starter.
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS) is active year-round, and in October, their annual fair from last weekend brings the community together — and the curious to learn about the elements of what makes traditional Japan cool. Now in its 18th year, their success lies in how they enrich and entertain the public who do not know much about the Land of the Rising Sun.
For spoiled folks like me who desire more of an academic edge, I’m craving the experience from the University of Victoria’s Pacific and Asian Studies CAPI Conference on Japanese Popular Culture. Two events were held on campus back in the late 90’s and they set the bar. Plus, I visited Japan and experienced the life on the streets that some festivals from afar have no plans to replicate. To sample the unique food from stalls at either a theme park like Fuji-Q Highland Park or at a seasonal event requires travelling back there.
VNCS’ version is quaint. It is worth going to at least once. I’ve been to this event years ago and saw no reason to come back in any regular basis. After James Shaw told me about 2016’s event perhaps offering Ikayaki (squid on a stick), I took a chance at returning. Was he wrong about what he heard? Most likely. This mouth-watering reason was the only reason I trekked out to the Municipality of Esquimalt.
Broadmead Village Shopping Centre
Unit 425 – 777 Royal Oak Drive
Phone: (778) 265-3328
Located outside of downtown, Fūdo Japanese Restaurant is where Shingo Sana, the former head sushi chef from Omakase, continues his passion for creating fantastic Japanese dishes. The ambience at this bistro is modern than traditional, and the time spent within is quite pleasent. The service was great, as I got a full decanter of tea to keep me very satisfied. The prices are a little bit more than those in town, but for the tastes I’ve found, it’s worth every extra penny — especially with the fusion roll I tried.
I do not visit this part of the suburbs much, mostly because the mall does not offer the type of shopping I’m usually after (nerd type merchandise), but if sushi connoisseurs love what this culinary master can do, making the trip to the edge of town is worth it. Timing and knowing when he has specialty rolls (like the Bananacado or Lemon Drop which the March/April issue of EAT magazine mentioned) on the menu requires keeping an eye on their Facebook page (or going omakase here) if anyone is yearning for a specific taste.
606 Trounce Alley
ES: I wish the Izakaya in Trounce Alley stayed longer. Actually known as So-Ya, they had a classy environment to fashion some trendy and nouveau Japanese style food. People can read our review here and I truly miss them. Park’s Kitchen replaces this operation. They had a soft opening and not many people noticed.
I have to wonder if the servers even have an eye for what’s good here. When James and I had our empty glasses of water just sitting on the table, no one bothered to glance to see if we needed a refill. I saw where the decanters were and had to help myself.
JS: Although the shell of So-Ya remains, the spirit within had long since passed on. What has replaced it is not very impressive. I was willing to be pleased but Park’s rarely shined when it came to either customer service, the kitchen staff or their lunch specials.
But I’m going to give a bad sounding critique and the reason is the not-so-good outweighed what was best about this place. But to start, their sunomono salad was very creative if not refreshing.
The lettuce threw me off but the carrots were most welcome. The vinaigrette was sweet and cool. I have to say I finally found a sunomono that may have beaten Sushi Plus. But perhaps to put something else to replace the lettuce will improve on this creation.
#100-1619 Store St.,
For over a year, Grace Sushi has occupied the space on Store St. that was once The Kaz. I’m not sure what the full story is behind the previous establishment’s departure, but in the past, they offered the space for Sen Zushi to occupy when their Fort Street location was devastated by a fire. Until it was all rebuilt, this other establishment fulfilled some sushi diner’s needs. Now they have moved back, and I’m the type to try all the places in town … just where I like to go lays with what is in the vicinity, before going to a play.
I had to see what kind of divine intervention could occur by walking into a location that’s now changed hands.